"Michigan Memories" is what Diane's dad dubbed the mosquito bites that we all picked up and while they are the most persistant annoying reminders right now, I have SO many happy memories that it makes it worth it ;)
This trip was amazing. For anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, this weekend I flew to Grand Rapids, Michigan for the wedding of my friend Diane and her fiance Jim. I had a wonderful time. I met tons of awesome people, had a blast hanging out with Diane and getting to know Jim.
I left home right after work on Tuesday and drove down to Seattle. I stayed the night with Dars and Wednesday morning she took me to the airport. I had a layover in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (during which I bought cheese and watched the olympics) and I arrived in Grand Rapids at 11:30, local time. Diane was there to meet me and we went straight back to their house.
Thursday morning we had a list of errands to run. Picking up the marriage license, a tux, stopping at Michaels, Target, the bank and more. We also made a number of runs to the airport to pick up her Mom, Dad and brother and then, the other bridesmaid, her friend Laura.
Laura and I really hit it off. She is an incredibly cool, insightful, interesting woman and I really enjoyed getting to know her.
Thursday evening, once everyone had arrived, we all gathered on Jim and Diane's awesome back deck for pizza. It was the first time that Diane's family had met Jim and his family and everyone got along famously.
My big thrill for the night...actually there was a few. The first one was seeing fireflies for the first time. I was talking to Laura but I kept focusing my eyes just past her head. Finally she asked "what are you looking at?!?" I realized then that the flashes of light that I kept seeing were fireflies!!! We don't have them up in Canada so this was my first time seeing them. Very cool.
Another first was Diane gave Laura and I bags with black flip flop Crocs in them!!! For any of my non-SS readers, Crocs are a *huge* deal on the board but I've never had my own. I was very excited to get them and I wore them for pretty much the rest of the weekend (including at the reception).
Friday morning Diane, Laura and I got up and went for spa pedicures. They were wonderfully relaxing and we all came out of there with matching French pedicures with daisy's painted on our big toes. Diane and I got manicures as well (Laura had just had her nails done so she opted out).
After our pedicures we went for lunch at Logans. The best part was the "mini bucket" desserts we got. So cute! After lunch we headed over to the reception hall. Both families were there to help set up. We had to arrange all the tables and set up the chairs and Diane's mom, dad and uncle formed a team that ironed 25(!) table cloths!!! They had a system going which worked great. The rest of us made center pieces, bouquets and set out the favours at each spot.
Once the reception hall was ready to go we headed over to the church. There we assembled the arch and before the rehersal, we ate a yummy dinner prepared by Diane's amazing mother-in-law. HUGE pans of lasanga, caeser salad, garlic bread and to-die-for-brownies.
The rehersal itself went great. I was way more uptight about everything than Diane & Jim and I'm lucky I didn't get kicked out :P They put up with me though. Jim's mom had bought him a t-shirt with a tux printed on it to wear and Di had a makeshift veil and bouquet. When the pastor was reviewing the part about exchanging rings Jim pulled a ring pop out of his pocket and presented it to her LOL
Near the end of the rehersal, the photographer, SS member Tiffany (Tiff McPinkie) showed up. It was wonderful to meet her and hang out with her. She stayed at Diane's Friday night (along with Laura and I. Jim and the boys went to his parents) and we had a great time chatting into the evening.
Two other ScrapShare members, Rene (HavaDrPepper) and Jen (momof2greatcats) joined us midway through the rehersal as well. They drove together from Ohio and it was awesome to finally meet them and spend some time together.Saturday was showtime. Diane, Laura and I hit Burger King for breakfast on the way to the hair salon. I actually did my own hair so I just got to observe and visit while Diane and Laura were pampered. Diane's hairdresser, Joyce is awesome. Di's been going to her for a number of years already so they are both super comfortable with each other.
Once our hair was done, we swung by Di's house to pick up the dresses and then headed for the church where we dressed and Laura did our make up. Despite my worrying (Diane was freakishly calm during the whole weekend so I took on the role of anal neurotic bridesmaidzilla) everything was exactly on time. We finished primping and preening with exactly one minute to spare. Perfect!
The ceremony was beautiful. Everyone was exactly in place and everything ran smoothly. The pastor's sermon was fantastic. I have been to many, many weddings and this was one of the nicest ones I have heard yet. The cool thing was it was only the second time he had performed a wedding!!! He is actually Jim's brother-in-law as well. The premise of his message was that life is a story and a marriage is a novel you write together. You only have one pen to write the story of your life now and you have to work together to decide when a new chapter will start. It was wonderful.
For the recessional Mr. & Mrs. Bryan walked out first (obviously) and then Laura and the best man, Jim's friend and cousin, Bill. Last I got to walk out with both of Jim's boys, one on each arm. That got a laugh from the congregation :) The wedding party and parents lined up for a receiving line and then we and the rest of the family went back into the church for formal photos.
From there we headed out to a park by where Jim & Diane work. It has beautiful landscaping that includes a gazebo and waterfall. Tiffany took some beautiful photos there. It was a bit of an adventure because the wind was blowing so hard. It actually took Diane's veil right off her head!!!
We arrived at the reception hall a few minutes before our precise "5:05 pm" entrance was scheduled so we hung outside for awhile. It was *hot* that evening. Hot and muggy...until midway through the reception when the skies opened up and the deluge started. Even then it didn't really clear the air though.
Dinner was catered and delicious. BBQ chicken, beef, roasted red potatoes, mixed veggies, rolls and probably something else I'm forgetting. Diane's inlaws were key in making sure all the food was ready and served properly. Awesome people I tell you.
For the rest of the evening we just proceeded to have fun. There was a brief open mic while we were waiting for dinner to be ready and a few people gave wonderful speeches. The cake that Jim's aunt (his mom's twin sister) made turned out perfect. It was decorated simply just like Diane wanted and tasted great.
The dances were a blast even if Laura and I were often the only ones up there :) Lots of good memories. Oh, and I *didn't* catch the bouquet. I already have four. This one went to Aunt Joan (the one who made the cake) and she was thrilled!
There is so much more I could say about the fun time we had at the reception. Meeting new people, dancing and more but this entry is already getting too long. The one interesting thing was, knowing I was surrounded by so many wonderful photographers, I didn't take a single picture on my camera ALL weekend!!! If I ever felt the urge to take one, I'd just grab Diane's camera. Between me, her and everyone else that used it, we managed to log over 300 images over the weekend so I know there won't be a shortage of pictures!
One thing we don't have photos of is what Jim, Diane, Laura and I did after the reception. Still dressed in all our wedding finery, we drove in to downtown Grand Rapids to Mojo's Dueling Piano Bar. It was a blast. There were no less than five bachelorette parties there and at least one other wedding party. It was a great way to finish up the night.
Sunday Diane and I got up and took Laura to the airport. Then we went for brunch with her family and took them to the airport. (Kind of a reverse of Thursday). Jim dropped off the rental car and we all went together to drop off the tuxes and then we went back to their house. His parents where there and stayed while Jim & Diane opened their presents.
In the afternoon Diane and I watched "Hairspray" and then we all watched the Olympic Closing Ceremonies together while Diane uploaded photos.
Monday was my turn to fly home. Again I had uneventful flights (unless you count the warm cookies ;)) and Dars picked me up in Seattle. I took my time coming home and went to bed early when I got there.
So there, my attempt at capturing five wonderful days in words. It's hard but it's a start :)
Congratulations Jim & Diane and thanks for letting me be a part of the begninning chapter of your life together!